Hello and Happy Friday!
I’m very excited about today’s Friday Feature because it focuses on a trio of Northwest gems.
I lived in Oregon for a decade, with a four-year stint at the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!) and six years in Portland. It was a great experience learning about wine in the Northwest because their is such a passion and attitude of sharing information that I don’t think exists in many other wine regions around the world.
While there are many new wineries in both Oregon and Washington since I left eight years ago, today’s feature focuses on producers that I know well, and really respect. This is a very diverse trio of wines, all with their own special qualities.
These wines are also very limited in their production, so don’t be late to order these via email, as I expect them to disappear quickly.
Have a great weekend,
2009 MATELLO “FOOL’S JOURNEY”
It is always exciting to sell a good friend’s wine in your store. Even better when it is a wine you consider to be one of Oregon’s most exciting representations of a varietal!
Marcus Goodfellow of Matello started production in 2002. He sources his fruit from family-owned vineyards in the Dundee Hills, Yamhill-Carlton, and the Ribbon Ridge AVA’s of the Willamette Valley.
The focus of the winery is on Pinot Noir, yet an opportunity to purchase from an excellent source of Syrah and Viognier led him to produce “Fool’s Journey.”
The majority of Syrah production in Oregon happens downstate. Mike and Patty Green (no relation to Patricia Green Cellars) planted Viognier and Syrah in the mid-90’s in their Deux Vert Vineyard. Located in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, the soil is comprised primarily of marine-sedimentary soil.
In the great tradition of Côte-Rôtie in France, Marcus decided to do a co-fermented Syrah and Viognier blend. Only Marcus uses a much higher proportion of Viognier, 17%, to be exact, along with 83% Syrah. Whole cluster fermentation (no de-stemming) in barrel, followed by aging in neutral barrels on the fine lees for 23 months.
The 2009 is an excellent follow up to the 2008. Beautiful aromatics with blue and red fruits and flowers. A super silky elegant mouthfeel, leads into a long, complex finish. This will be a fun one to watch as you can drink it now, but it should age in bottle for 8-10 years.
Only 5 cases of the 85 cases made came to Chicago. Get this while you can!
$29.99 BTL. / ONLY 24 BOTTLES AVAILABLE
2008 MCKINLAY PINOT NOIR “SPECIAL SELECTION”
I gave a shout out to this wine on the “Wine Wire” on my website – but I don’t think I shouted loud enough!
IF YOU BUY OREGON PINOT’S TO LAY DOWN AND LIKE AN ELEGANT ALMOST-BURGUNDIAN STYLE – YOU MUST BUY THIS!
Matt Kinnie isn’t a well known producer outside of the Northwest. He doesn’t have a marketing team, and doesn’t produce much more than 1000 cases a year, split between 2 wines. Matt’s training was in California at legendary producer Hanzell. While the climates are very different you can draw some similarity in terms of the texture of the two producers.
This wine comes from a blend of vineyards from different AVA’s thus the “Willamette Valley” designate. This is the second of two wines produced, a selection of his best grapes. Both his Pinots use native yeasts, very little new oak and are unfined and unfiltered.
As many of you know, 2008 is a spectacular Oregon vintage, and this wine is truly liquid silk. Amazing pure notes of wild strawberry, raspberry, and flowers can be found on the nose and palate. Do give this wine some time, starting to drink in 2015 and through 2023. This is an amazing value given the quality!
$39.99 BTL. / ONLY 24 BOTTLES AVAILABLE
2009 GRAMERCY CELLARS “JOHN LEWIS” SYRAH
Greg Harrington of Gramercy Cellars is making some of the best Syrah in the United States. I’ve featured his Walla Walla Syrah in the store before, as it is one of the great values in Washington Syrah.
What I like about Greg’s wines is their definition – offering an expression of place, and most importantly having the requisite balance that enables the drinker to go back for a second, third, and fourth glass. Syrah can be one of the most elegant wines on earth, but sometimes you wouldn’t know it when tasting through some of the headache-inducing, high-octane fruit-bombs from Washington State.
As a supporter of Gramercy Cellars, I was fortunate to be one of two accounts in Chicago that received an allocation of the “John Lewis” Syrah.
The “John Lewis” Syrah is a selection of the top barrels from their various vineyards in Walla Walla. The majority of the fruit comes from the Les Collines and Forgotten Hills vineyards. Gramercy, like Matello above, uses whole cluster fermentation, and for this Syrah they age it in 500-liter barrels.
This is a very small production wine, and in 2009 it became even more sought after because of various press reviews. All the wines at Gramercy Cellars are terrific, but for those looking for a truly profound wine, one that should be aged, email me for some of the 12 bottles that I received!
“Even better is the 2009 Syrah John Lewis which spent 24 months in barrel. It flaunts an extra dimension of complexity in its captivating perfume. Notes of bacon, sausage, garrigue, lavender, pepper, and assorted black and blue fruits are followed by a satin-textured, suave, rich Syrah which deftly combines elegance and power. This lengthy effort may well see its 20th birthday in peak form. 96-99 Points, Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate.”
$79.99 BTL. / ONLY 12 BOTTLES AVAILABLE